A puppy is like a baby. He will relieve himself anywhere, anytime. Because a newly adopted adult dog is unfamiliar with your home, he may not understand where he should “go”! Housetraining, or teaching your dog to go outside to relieve himself, is an important lesson your dog must learn.
It is up to you, the new parent, to housetrain your new puppy or dog with patience, love and understanding.
In the wild, wolves live in a den or cave. It is important the entire wolf pack keep this area clean. The same idea works with your family pet. Your dog’s crate is his home, his bedroom. It is likely that your dog will not like to soil his bed. Therefore, he will wait until he is let out to do his business.
HOUSETRAINING WITH YOUR CRATE
On average, puppies can hold their bladders one hour for every month they have been alive, plus one hour. For example, if you have a three month old puppy, he can wait 3 + 1 = 4 hours. If you work longer than this, the best solution is to have someone (a neighbour, a relative, a dog walker) come in at an appropriate time to let your dog out.
100 PER CENT SUPERVISION
Supervision is the key to housetraining! While you are at home, your dog must be supervised. Whether you are watching television, making dinner, on the phone or on the computer, your puppy must be watched. While it sounds like an impossible task, it isn’t. Keeping the crate in a social part of the house makes it easier. Using a house lead – a small, thin lead with a little clip on it – also helps immensely. Outside, you put a lead on your dog so you can control him. If the lead is removed after returning home, control is lost. For example, when watching television, have the lead tied to a couch leg. Your dog can have his blanket and toys with him. He’ll feel safe and comfortable. The majority of accidents happen when your pup wanders off and you haven’t noticed. You don’t want him to sneak off into the kitchen and find a puddle a short time later. If your pup is kept from wandering, the possibility of an accident is diminished because he will not eliminate where he is sitting. 100 per cent supervision means ensuring your dog is playing with you, in his crate, outside or on his house lead.
In the morning, take your dog outside. He should urinate and possibly have a bowel movement. Spend about five to seven minutes with him and then bring him in. Do not play with him yet. Feed him breakfast, either in the crate or with the lead, and supervise it. If your pup did not have a bowel movement earlier, take him back outside about 15 minutes after he has eaten. Use the lead to keep your pup moving along while outside. Otherwise, he may start sniffing, stopping and playing to avoid the job at hand. You can say “hurry up” and your dog will begin to associate these words with the task at hand. Praise him excessively when he has eliminated. Bring him back in the house and place him in his crate if you are going to work. Continue to supervise him with the crate or the lead if you are home. When returning after being out, go directly to the crate, let him out, praise him and put him back in. Feed him his meal, take him outside 15 minutes after he has eaten, praise him after he eliminates, and bring him back in. Continue to follow the same steps consistently.
While you are home, you should take your pup outside on a regular basis. Even if your pup is in a crate or on a house lead, he still needs the opportunity to eliminate. Also, be careful what you wish for! A pup who barks to go outside may be cute and clever now. However, you must try not to fall into the habit of leaping up every time your dog wants in or out. It is a very submissive gesture on your part. Have your pup wait a moment or two.
Setting up a schedule is also a good idea. If your pup is under four months of age, take him out for five minutes every hour on the hour. If your pup is over four months old, take him out every second hour on the hour. The schedule will help you remember when to take him out. Go out for five minutes only. It provides the opportunity to eliminate even if your pup may not need to go. Take your dog out after active play and also after napping. If an accident occurs, you may have forgotten to take him out .
Having a puppy drink a lot of water and then placing him in his crate is much more unkind than letting him be a bit thirsty for an hour or two. Adult dogs should have access to drinking water at all times. However, this is not the case for untrained pups. Most parents will not allow their children to drink a big glass of water before going to bed. Avoid setting your pup up for failure. Restrict his water intake to three or four drinks daily and make sure you remove the water dish about three hours before bedtime. This will help your dog sleep more comfortably.
If it is a hot evening, supply your pup with a few ice cubes. They will enter your dog’s system at a slower pace. When feeding your pup, provide a high-quality food that is a good source of protein. The food must be concentrated so your puppy’s body doesn’t require much of it. If you feed less, your puppy eliminates less. Food is directly related to how well puppies do in their housetraining.
It is important that your pup gets a lot of exercise, especially while crate training. You can play fetch, chase or hide and seek in your home. You can call ‘come’ at the same time to provide further training. Anyway you do it, your pup needs to be able to run and play.